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Secondary Suite Process Reform

City Council directed Administration to bring forward amendments to the Land Use By-law to include secondary suites as discretionary uses within the R-1, R-C1, and R-C1L land use districts no later than the public hearing on 2018 March 12. Proposed amendments also impact The City’s Suite Registry Program.

The Secondary Suites hub provides information on the rules for building secondary suites as well as information on permits and safety.

Enter your address below to determine if your property is affected by these land use changes.

​R-1, R-C1, and R-C1L Land Uses

You ARE affected by these changes.

The proposed change means that secondary suites (suites within the primary dwelling) and backyard suites will both be discretionary uses in these land uses districts.

The difference between a permitted use and a discretionary use:

  • If both types of suites are approved as discret​ionary use in R-1, R-C1, and R-C1L land use districts, it means that community associations and neighbours are given the opportunity to provide comments during the development permit review process.
  • A decision on a discretionary development permit may be appealed​.
  • Backyard suites are always a discretionary use in every other low-density district since they result in a visible change to the property.
  • Where a suite is a permitted use (as they are in every other low-density district), the development permit exemption will allow the property owner to proceed directly to the building permit stage, as long as the application does not require any relaxations from the Land Use Bylaw rules.

Opinions concerning th​ese amendments:

  • Those wishing to submit feedback or concerns to Council on these amendments have an opportunity to do so through the March 12, 2018 Public Hearing.
  • Persons wishing to submit a letter, public opinion poll or other communication concerning these bylaw amendments may do so following the instructions​ below. Only those submissions received by the City Clerk no later than 12:00 p.m. (noon), March 5, 2018, shall be included in the Agenda of Council.
  • Any person who wishes to address Council in person on this matter on March 12, 2018 may do so for a maximum of five minutes.

Other land use​s

You ARE NOT affected by these changes.

The following land uses are already permitted to have secondary suites and will not be impacted by any of the proposed changes.

  • R-C1s
  • R-C2
  • R-1s
  • R-2
  • R-2M
  • R-CG
  • M-CG
  • R-G
  • R-Gm
  • R-C1N
  • R-1N

More information on the process for obtaining a secondary suite in these land use areas can be found on the Secondary Suites page.

For further information on other land use districts, please contact the Planning Services Centre at 403-268-5311 for more information.​

Secondary Suite Registry

The proposed changes include requiring all existing and new secondary suites to be part of The City’s Suites Registry Program, and adopt fees for the registry.

Opinions concerning these amendments

Submitting comments to City Council

Persons wishing to submit a letter, public opinion poll or other communication concerning these bylaw amendments may do so provided they are printed, typed or legibly written and include the writer's name, mailing address and electronic (email) address (if applicable). Feedback must focus on the bylaw and it’s planning merits. Submissions with defamatory content and/or offensive language will be filed by the City Clerk and not printed in the Council Agenda or shared with Members of Council. Only those submissions received by the City Clerk no later than 12:00 p.m. (noon), March 5, 2018, shall be included in the Agenda of Council. Submissions must be addressed to Office of the City Clerk, The City of Calgary 700 Macleod Trail SE P.O. Box 2100, Postal Station ‘M’ Calgary, Alberta T2P 2M5. Submissions may be hand delivered, mailed, faxed to 403-268-2362 or emailed to

The personal information in submissions made is collected under the authority of the Alberta Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, Section 33 (c) for the purpose of public participation in land use decision making. Submissions meeting criteria will included in the public meeting Council Agenda as received. The personal information included in the submission will be publicly available, in accordance with Section 40(1) of the FOIP Act. If you have any questions regarding the collection of this information please contact 311 for the FOIP Program Administrator, Planning & Development Department, IMC#8115, P.O. Box 2100, Stn ‘M’, Calgary, Ab T2P 2M5.

Addressing City Cou​​ncil in person

Any person who wishes to address Council on this matter may do so for a period of FIVE MINUTES. The five (5) minutes shall be exclusive of any time required to answer questions. Persons addressing Council shall limit their comments to the matter contained in the report and the recommendations being discussed. Contact the City Clerk at 403-268-5861 for further information.

Distributing ad​ditional material

Anyone wishing to distribute additional material at the meeting shall supply the City Clerk with thirty-five (35) copies at the time of presentation. It should be noted that such additional material will require the approval of the Mayor before distribution to Members of Council. The personal information is collected under the authority of the Municipal Government Act, Section 636 and bylaw 35M2017 and is used as part of the agenda of the Public Hearing of Council. If you have questions on the use of this information, you may contact the City Clerk at 403-268-5861.

If the Public Hearing is still in progress at 9:30 p.m., Council may conclude the matter under discussion and will reconvene the next business day, unless otherwise directed by Council.


On 2017 December 11 Council passed a Notice of Motion that directed administration to pursue reforms to the process for secondary suite applications.

Under the current rules, homeowners in some parts of the city can get a development permit and/or building permit through The City to build a secondary suite. In other parts of the city, where the land use (zoning) does not yet permit secondary suites, homeowners must ask Council for permission (a change to the land use) in order to proceed with a development permit and/or building permit. If Council approves the land use change, then the next step is obtaining the proper building permits (sometimes a development permit is required prior to applying for the building permit).

If the proposed bylaw changes are approved, the rules will be consistent across the city and Council approval will no longer be required because all homeowners will have the ability to develop a suite (there will no longer be a need for a land use redesignation). Moving forward a homeowner would go straight to the development permit or building permit stage.

Current Applications

In advance of the report back in 2018 March, one Motion arising directed Administration to “consider holding new applications and not schedule any land use redesignation applications for secondary suites, for consideration by Council, until the 2018 March Public Hearing” and this requires immediate action.

If a homeowner currently has an application in progress that already has approved land use, then the application will be processed normally.

If a homeowner has an application that is in progress to have land use reviewed then the following will apply:

  • At the 2017 December 14 meeting of the Calgary Planning Commission (CPC), 11 applications to accommodate secondary suites will be directed to the 2018 March 12 Public Hearing of Council.
  • Applications heard on or after the 2018 January 11 CPC meeting will be heard at the 2018 March 12 or later Public Hearing of Council. Depending on the outcome of the 2018 March report, there may no longer be a requirement for a Public Hearing of Council for secondary suites.
  • Secondary suite applications that were heard at CPC on November 2 and November 16 (20 applications in total) are scheduled to go to the 2018 January 22 Public Hearing of Council, and the applications heard at the November 30 CPC (8 in total) are scheduled to go to the 2018 February 20 Public Hearing of Council. These applications will continue to be advertised and placed on the Council agenda for both January and February for Council deliberation.

New Applications

New applications received after Monday December 18 will be processed to the furthest possible extent, but ultimately will then be held until council deliberates the proposed new rules in March 2018.​​​​​​​​​​​​